Tynemouth, England: For nearly one-hundred and forty years the magnificent Victorian structure perched high upon the shores of Longsands cast a formidable presence.
Built in 1878, and originally known as Tynemouth Aquarium and Winter Garden, over the decades it would take on many names, adapt itself to house every kind of amusement one can imagine, and create millions of delightful memories in the minds of at least five generations of children and their families.
To the American, unaccustomed to buildings of this nature, think of it as a kind of shopping mall concept because that is exactly what it was built to function as. Tynemouth was a compartmental structure that housed many things at once over the years, depending on the decade. Restaurants, rooftop gardens, ballrooms, nightclubs, aquariums and arcades all had their day here at one time or the other.
In 1926 Tynemouth Aquarium and Winter Garden took on the name Tynemouth Plaza and remained so for the next 70 years. Tragically it burned in 1996, leaving behind a blackened shell that was later torn down.
Over Thanksgiving holiday someone was kind enough to post some rare video footage of Tynemouth Plaza’s arcade from 1983. In this video one can feel time reach out and pull you back into an electronic atmosphere where Monaco GP, Xevious, Sinistar and Battlezone once reigned over the senses. A world I remember. An era I wish still lived.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.